June Produce Totals and July W1 Garden Update

By JULIE - 1:52:00 PM

July 1 2013 Garden B: our purple podded pole beans are starting late and starting to vine up

Our gardens been growing slowly due to our late start planting this year, but it is starting to produce.  Last week was my first time grocery shopping this season when I realized I didn't have to buy as much at the store, because our garden is producing enough.  Love that time of year!

Stars of our Garden This Week and Last Week

June is all about strawberries for us since about 75% of our strawberries are June bearing (the rest are ever bearing).  This year we had a unusually late spring and last year we had an unusually early spring.  Since this was only our 2nd year growing strawberries it's totally thrown me off!  last year I took good records about how often I harvested and how long it took.  I followed it this year (harvesting every other day) only to find I should have been harvesting every day because the strawberries seemed to ripened super fast this year, which I can only assume is due to the sun or higher temperature that comes with a two week delayed harvest.  So we lost what I'm guessing was about 2 lbs of strawberries due to it ripening before it was picked.  We ended the month with 10 lbs, compared to 17lbs last year for our total June harvest.  We still have some more strawberries on the way but I can tell they are past there peak now.  I have a feeling despite the fact that we have 25% more plants than last year we will actually produce less this year, despite the claims on the local media that strawberries would be a real bumper crop this year here.
July 1 2013 Mustard left, arugula right, cherry tomato plans in the middle, strawberries on sides

Mustard greens 
These would have been producing sooner if we hadn't killed the self seeded seedlings in order to add more dirt to our concrete raised beds. They're already starting to bolt, and we just started harvesting them.  I love having them mixed in with salad mixes and on sandwiches.  They have a nice little mild zip to them much like arugula and are a bit less fragile than lettuce.

These would have been producing sooner if we had planted sooner. The seeds I used must have had a good germination rate (I did use old seeds) because I planted half our concrete raised bed with mustard and half with arugula, and you can see in the picture above only a few plants grew, next to the hundreds of mustard plants.  They are not bolting yet and we have yet to harvest them because I've been eating mustard greens. I love having them mixed in with salad mixes and on sandwiches, much like mustard greens.  They have a nice little mild zip to them and are a bit less fragile than lettuce.

Garden B July 1 2013 pole beans,lettuce(romaine, green leaf, and ?), and tomatoes

I started harvesting our lettuce because it's already starting to bolt!  We lost a few transplants, but what survived is fully grown now.  It looks like we have an interesting mix.  I wish I new what they all are.  We got a great deal on a variety pack of transplants at the farmer's market that weren't labelled well. 

Garde B July 1 2013: cucumbers, red Russian and dino kale, early girl tomatoes

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love kale!  It's a nutrition power house, by far the easiest plant to grow in our zone 4 and produces from spring to late fall (not many plants do that here!) and it even comes back for round two the next year!  It's even so pretty that many parks around our area use it just as a landscaping plant much like Swiss chard.  Our kale in the main garden last year was on it's 2nd year so we started with transplants of all new varieties.  We've only done curly kale before, and in edition to that we are trying red Russian, and dino kale.  They are all doing well and we could harvest but have not yet since I usually only use it in smoothies (trust me you don't even know it's there), or the occasional dinner (usually as a side salad served with meat over it), and I'm trying to use up our frozen spinach first.

Our rhubarb does well every year.  We actually inherited it with our house.  I made a yummy rhubarb strawberry crisp with a few stalks last week.

We have two helper cilantro plants that are starting to bolt and are large enough to harvest.
July 1 2013v Our large wooden container: jalapeno left, Thai basil middle, and habanero right

Thai Basil
This is our first year growing thai basil (pictured above).  This first transplant we had was leggy and died shortly.  The next transplant was a much healthier plant and is doing very nicely.  Ours is already growing flowers (which I  pinched off).  And smells heavenly.  I haven't used any yet but I can't wait.  I just have to learn what to use it in....  I love when our garden inspires me to try new recipes!

Missed Harvest So Far 
(Or in other words where we missed the boat on having a larger harvest this month)
July 1 2013 cauliflower and blue podded peas (the ones the bunnies didn't get)

We should have peas producing right now (our neighbours are huge and the farmers market has and peas for weeks), but we planted late and bunnies ate our peas. I moved the peas to the back this year for the first time because I liked the ideal of having trellises with pretty peas climbing up it to block out our alley view.  I put up chicken wire around  the front only since there is a chain link fence in the back of the bed.  Apparently chain link is not bunny proof.  The bunnies were not able to get to the peas planted in front of our concrete raised bed however, so about 1/3 of them were saved (pictured above). The peas seem to be regrowing new side shoots, and I've trained them away from where the bunnies can get it this time. 

Kale, Lettuce, Arugula, and Mustard
While our greens are doing well, we could have planted sooner and have harvested more by now. So next year we will plant lettuce sooner and hopefully our kale will come back for the second year so we don't have to worry about planting.  And hopefully we will have plenty of helpers for arugula and mustard next year since we shouldn't need to add any compost or till our concrete raised beds.

We could have been having this for awhile without worry about bolting, but we have helpers that are harvest-able and trying to bolt right now.  We also have a few direct seeded late that are just seedlings right now in our backyard.  I'm interested to see how that goes because we have not planted that in our backyard before and it's more shaded.

Other Notes This Month

Garden A
July 1 2013 Garden A: broccoli, beets, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, bell peppers, basil, cilantro

Beets and Carrots Interplanted in Squares
I decided to interplant in our entire garden A (on the right side of our yard) with beets, and garden B  with carrots.  This seems to be doing well so far.  Last year we interplanted both garden A and B with carrots, only to hardly have any grow because our garden was already over planted.  Last year I learned a big lesson about how important thinning is!  We also did not harvest the carrots we did have thinking we would harvest them in the spring.  Although we succeeded in overwintering in the past, this year there were no carrots at all.  I guess they rotted out?  Hopefully this year will be better.

We have not had as much space as we did last year to plant rutabaga, but what we do have has suddenly gone from a tiny seedling to a plant. I'm so happy not to see the open spaces in our garden anymore.  It's hard to have faith that direct seeding will work late in the season, because if it doesn't grow that means we have wasted space in our garden.  Not a good thing for a small urban garden!

Our broccoli is growing well and is yet to form a head.  

Pole Beans
I planted pole beans in both gardens A and B, and the beans in garden B are doing great, but most of the beans in garden A did not grow.  So I replanted twice and I think we will have enough to fill out the space now.  Hopefully they won't grow to late.  I planted purple podded pole beans and green pole beans from seed I saved last year and left over store bought seeds from last year.  I did not keep track of which seeds I planted in which squares and which were saved seeds and which we're store bought seeds.  Whoops!  Would have been nice to know which ones didn't work, but oh well.  My guess is it was the saved seeds.  I also have no ideal how much of our beans are green or purple, I guess we will see!

July 1 2013 Garden A: Bell Peppers, roma tomatoes, rutabaga, and purple basil

Bell Peppers

As you can see in the picture above our bell pepper plants are pretty small.  I'm hoping they will do better this year than last year.  We actually had to buy our peppers from the farmers market (luckily I got a huge bucket of peppers at a rock bottom price at the farmers market). I think the reason last year that they did so bad is that our garden was over crowded and therefore it did not get enough sun.  We got our transplant at the same place as last year so we will see....

Purple Basil
We got our purple basil at the same vendor as last year from our farmers market, and it looks about the same as this time last year (not much bigger than the transplant), and it did well last year so hopefully it will do the same.

I love helpers!  I purposely let plants go to seed and place veggies destined for the compost pile in the garden in hopes to have some surprises in spring.  This year our only helpers are in garden A.  We have two tomato helpers (don't know what kind yet) and two cilantro plants.

Garden B
July 1 2013 Garden B: lettuce, kale, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans
We planted this on both sides, and we planted a little late.  It's doing well as far as I can tell and me fingers are crossed that they will produce as nicely as last year after having two years without any success.

Our lettuce is starting to bolt so I harvested the top.  It's been so long since I harvested lettuce I forgot how to.  I plan to study up on that before I do anything else with harvesting....

Doing well see above

Our tomatoes are growing overnight and I'm having to train it to it's cages evey few days.  It's just on the verge of starting the first tomatoes

Pole Beans
Our Pole beans are doing much better on this side! See above for more info.

Back Yard
July 1 2013:  our first raspberry ripening of the season

We usually are finishing up on harvesting raspberries about now but this year we have still yet to have a ripe raspberry due to our late spring this season.  Pictured above is our closest to being ripe raspberry.

 Compost bin:  You can see the whole potatoes that our potato helper plants sprouted from!
July 1 2013 Helper peas in our compost bin

Our Compost pile: Potatoes and Peas
We have planted potatoes in our build as it grows box we made in the past, but we have not gotten much of a harvest from them yet, so I decide to not plant them this year because we were planting so late I thought it would be better to simplify what we did this year, but nature thought otherwise.  I throw some potatoes in our compost bin that had gone bad and they're now growing potatoes!  Since we also have pea helpers in our compost pile I don't plant to turn it all.  Less for me to do!

June Produce Totals
  • Strawberries 10 lbs
  • lettuce  11 oz
  • rhubarb 7.5 oz
  • mustard and beet greens 4 oz
 Produce Tally June= 11 lbs 7 oz (rounding up)

This Months Harvest Compared to Last Year 
In June 2012 we had 23lbs of produce.  So why did we produce less than half this month than what we did last year?  Well our lettuce and rhubarb totals are pretty close to the same, and in 2012 we had 8 oz of cat nip, which I pulled out this year (because we now have enough cat nip to last our cat for years).  Which is roughly offset by the mustard and beet greens.  The biggest difference is our berry harvest.  Last year we had harvested almost 5 lbs of raspberries and this year we have yet to have one ripe enough to harvest due to our late spring (any day now we should be able to harvest a few).  We also had 7lbs more of strawberries.  Our strawberries are still producing but at a much slower rate.  We were just a week ago harvesting 1 lb a day now we are about 6 oz every other day.  

How is your garden doing? What have you been harvesting?  I love to hear your comments! 

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